Capital market operators on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to focus more on infrastructure development to boost local employment and consolidate the achievements of the past three years.
The operators stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos, while appraising the three years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Rasheed Yussuf, a former President of Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON), said the government should invest more in power, roads and railway.
Yussuf said the challenges in the past were due to low oil production, low oil price and low foreign reserves which led to recession.
He said these three critical economic conditions depressed the economy, but that the government had been able to evolve the appropriate economic policies to deal with them.
According to him, the government used the ban of 41 items to stimulate local production, and urged the government to sustain the ban to strengthen the growth and development of the economy.
Yussuf said Nigerians needed to understand that they must pay a price for the economy to improve accordingly.
“If you are moving from an import-oriented economy to export-oriented economy, you will see unemployment along the line because you have adjusted the employment circle.
“There is no way we will not go through pain given the economic situation we went through in the last three years because there is a complete change of economic situation.
“If we develop our own local capacity, we will be better off than being import dependent. Being import-dependent means we are providing employment for foreigners.
“If we can develop our own, it means we are providing employment for our own people,” Yussuf said.
According to him, government has managed to do its best in economic management.
He, however, tasked the government to invest heavily in education and health to improve economic growth.
“If you have a healthier and well-educated population, the economy will grow better,” Yussuf said.
He said Nigeria needed national economic goals that every government must focus on irrespective of the political party in power instead of changing economic goals regularly.
Garba Kurfi, the Managing Director, APT Securities and Funds Ltd., said the government should come out with robust economic policies that would touch all aspects of the economy including power and transport to address unemployment.
Kurfi said the government should tackle insecurity in the country to boost investors’ confidence.
He said the eventual listing of MTN Nigeria on the Nigerian Stock Exchange would increase the depth of the market as well as the market capitalisation.
“We hope more efforts will be put in place to ensure the listing of companies in the power sector and refineries in the capital market as well,” Kurfi added.
He also called for downward adjustment of the Monetary Policy Rate by the Monetary Policy Committee for achieve stability in the capital market and strengthen the real sector.